Philadelphia to The Don: Nevermind
Posted on January 25, 2014 3:55 pm
Any minute now we’ll surely hear about the mountains of telegrams, Candygrams, Flowergrams and Hallmark “I’m Sorry I’m a Dimwitted, Dopey-assed Jackwad” cards flooding MLS Headquarters from Philadelphia Union fans in humble apology for the fact that they were rude, obnoxious, stupid and, frankly, dead wrong when they went out of their way to insult the man at Superdraft.
According to reports from around the Soccersphere, Maurice Edu, World’s Greatest Midfielder, has agreed to terms with the Union for, well, let’s just say a bit less than his previous position.
Basically what happened is this:
Former “US International” Edu, out of work and having not played for anyone at all since a couple outings in Turkey last Spring, wanted to come back to MLS and according to Ives Galarcep and others told the Philadelphia Union he’d like $1.5 million dollars a year to do so.
The Union and the league never had the slightest intention of paying it, and surely even Edu knew it.
Still, some mope who writes for Goal.com – but I repeat myself – wrote that MLS had “nixed” some deal, claiming that the Union had brought a contract to the league and they had “rejected” it.
And if by “nixed” and “rejected” he meant “almost hurt themselves laughing” he was probably very close to the truth.
In reaction, Philadelphia fans decided believe this nonsense and make a huge public display of stupidity by insulting, heckling and demeaning Commissioner Garber during his opening remarks at the draft.
Fact is, nobody ever reached an agreement with Edu for a million and a half dollars a year. Not even Union management is that deranged.
Instead, they got together with the league office and came up with a more reasonable offer, which Edu has accepted. What a concept.
Or, to put it in terms that Union fans can grasp, it’s like when you walk on to the Buy Here Pay Here car lot and they tell you they want $30,000 for that 99 Corolla you’ve had your eye on.
Some people call it negotiating.
And in Edu’s case, the negotiating ended, according to the WaPo’s Steven Goff, somewhere in the vicinity of $600k.
So to summarize, MLS – and the Union – did it exactly right, Edu signed for less than half of what he asked for and the fans who threw their little public hissy fit look like ignorant fools.
Be that as it may, this whole incident brought a lot of questions into focus and I’d much rather take a look at them than continue to laugh my ass off at clueless, rude and deranged Union fans.
One of them is the question: “Who exactly is a US International?”
There was a lot of angry debate over how the Union shouldn’t have had to trade for DC’s allocation position because previous policy (see: Dempsey, Clint and Bradley, Michael) said that returning USMNT members classified as DP’s don’t require the use of an allocation.
But when is a “US International” not a “US International”? Edu, as an example, only made 3 appearances for the US – only one of them as a starter – in 2013 and is a long ways from a sure thing for Brazil 2014.
And while nothing is etched in stone, Michael Bradley and Jermaine Jones will almost certainly start in Edu’s natural position and most people would agree that Kyle Beckerman, Sacha Kljestan and Mix Diskerud are all in front of him on the depth chart.
So if, as appears at least possible if not likely, Edu does not make Klinnsy’s final roster, then he’s really not a “US International” is he?
Or is anyone who once pulled on a free Nike shirt with a USSF crest on it forever after classified as an international who gets DP money and a pass on the allocation rules?
A lot is being made of the fact that MLS VP Todd Bftsplk said, just last summer, that “For USMNT players signed by an MLS club as a Designated Player, the allocation process does not apply.”
But if Edu, who as noted has started exactly one game for the USMNT in the past 12 months, does not make Klinnsmann’s final roster, would the Union then have to give the guy back?
Or if the Union can use allocation money to pay down Edu’s salary to below the DP threshold, does any of it matter anyway?
And how does any of this compare with, say, the draft week Michael Parkhurst-to-Columbus deal? Is Parkhurst a “USMNT player”? Based on Klinnsmann calling him into the camp in Brazil yesterday, maybe he is. And if that’s the criteria, then the fact that Edu did not get called in would mean he’s on the outside looking in, doesn’t it?
Point being, this stuff is not simple, there’s no blueprint, and yes, MLS is more or less making it up as they go along and what the hell else are they supposed to do?
When you’re doing a bunch of stuff that’s never been done before, then by definition you’re going to have a lot of situations that don’t fit neatly into slot A or slot B.
Bottom line, whatever you think about the process, Edu is coming to Philly for a reasonable price and will be part of the mad scramble for the last couple of roster spotsfor Brazil.
In the meantime, he’ll likely be a solid contributor and a good addition to the Union, but he’s not going to be leading anyone to the promised land.
And to Union fans: I’m certain Cohiba Don will be happy to accept your apologies.